The key to a successful backup is getting a copy of your data off your hard drive. Focus on protecting your personal files like letters, projects, photos, music, and other essential data.
Deciding what to back up is highly personal. Anything you cannot replace easily should be at the top of your list. Before you get started, make a checklist of files to back up. This will help you determine what to back up, and also give you a reference list in the event you need to retrieve a backed-up file. Here are some file suggestions to get you started:
* Bank records and other financial information
* Digital photographs
* Personal projects
* Your e-mail address book
Don't try to copy programs like Microsoft Word, etc - they can be reinstalled from the original CDs. Likewise, the operating system software - Windows itself and any software provided by your computer maker - can usually be recovered from the installation or System Restore CDs that came with the computer.
An easy method
A simple backup in Windows XP requires no special software or skills. To copy a file or folder, just right-click on it and select Copy from the pop-up menu that appears. Choose the disk or drive where you want to store the duplicate copy, right-click again, and then select Paste from the pop-up menu.
You can also copy files in other (95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, 2003) Windows operating systems using a drag-and-drop method - hold down the right mouse button while dragging a file or folder, then select Copy Here from the pop-up menu that appears.
Your e-mail messages and address book list can be exported and then backed up along with other personal data. This process varies depending on which e-mail software is used on your computer.
How often should you back up your data? It depends on your abilities, your personal needs, and the importance of your computer's files.
There are various ways to automate backing up your data. The new release of Mac OS X, 10.5 Leopard can be used as an example by its Time Machine utility. Time Machine can be configured to automatically backup your data at a time that is convenient to you. Most people tend to set this automatic schedule to an early morning hour, so that the backup process doesn't get in their way.
Some Backup Utilities:
Traditional file backup programs:
Disk image backup programs:
Auxiliary tools & utilities:
- Zip Folders Windows XP/ME built-in support for Zip files.
- WinRar A powerful archiving tool.
- WinZip The most popular Zip utility for Windows.
- InCD UDF packet writing software for CD/DVD drives.
- DLA (Drive Letter Access) Free UDF packet writing driver for CD/DVD recording drives.